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Lord Nicholas Windsor A rare interview with the Queen’s cousin FEATURE, PAGE 7

William Oddie When Dickens saw Our Lady


Dr Rowan Williams Prayer is like being part of a great choir


No. 6544

Bishops: carry a card to declare your faith


THE BISHOPS of England and Wales are to distribute a million cards communicating that their carrier is a baptised Catholic.

The cards will go to 24 dioceses, including the Bishopric of the Forces and the ordinariate, in order to promote evangelisation by Catholics.

The credit card-sized item features on one side a clear statement that the carrier is a Catholic and a list of six things that Catholics are called to do.

There is also a sentence that reads: “In the event of an emergency, please contact a Catholic priest.”

The other side of the card has a quote from Blessed John Henry Newman focusing on the call to serve and affirming that everyone has a mission.

Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, chairman of the bishops’ department for evangelisation and catechesis, said: “We all carry a variety of cards in our purses and wallets which reflect something of our identity and the things that are important to us. The faith card for Catholics aims to offer a daily reminder of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.”

“We can’t summarise the whole of our faith in bullet points, but we hope that the card simply inspires people to do, read and learn more.”

The bishop added: “The card is also designed to give Catholics confidence to share their faith. Often people need help knowing what to say. Faith is a not a private matter... Carrying a faith card takes courage, it signals to others, every time you use your wallet or purse, that you believe in God, that your life has a purpose, that you are trying to love and serve your neighbour. We hope that Catholics will use it to witness to their faith. If someone asks a question about Catholicism, a starting point could be to show the card and to take it from there.”

The card i s f ree and will be distributed over the next two months.

Vatican sees biggest snowfall in 26 years

MISSIONARIES of Charity built snowmen and had playful snowball fights in St Peter’s Square this week as Rome saw its biggest snowstorm in 26 years.

At his Sunday Angelus Pope Benedict XVI, wearing a heavy overcoat, told the crowd: “The snow is beautiful, but let’s hope spring comes soon.”

The city is dusted with snow every few years but this week the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill were forced to close and cars without tyre chains were ordered off the road.

Planes were cancelled, a ferry smashed into a dock and train passengers were left in the dark or cold for hours. Meanwhile in Ukraine, 122 people were reported to have died due to extreme cold. In Serbia 11,000 villagers were trapped by snowdrifts and blizzards.

February 10 2012 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)

Catholic school transport cuts leave parents with huge bills


THE CATHOLIC Education Service of England and Wales (CESEW) has expressed alarm at the number of local authorities withdrawing transport subsidies for children attending Church schools.

Parents across England and Wales are facing bills running into thousands of pounds following decisions by councils to remove discretionary subsidies for transport to schools with a religious character, including many Catholic schools.

The CESEW estimates that over 50 per cent of local authorities are no longer offering transport subsidies for children attending faith schools and a further seven per cent are consulting on whether to withdraw subsidies. Children attending Catholic schools often have to travel long distances to school and the removal of subsidies can cost parents up to £1,500 per child for a year’s travel.

According to data gathered by the BBC, compiled following a Freedom of Information request by the Campaign for Better Transport, three quarters of English councils are reviewing or making cuts to wider school transport services.

Greg Pope, deputy director of the CESEW, said: “If parents have more than one child then these cuts can lead to bills of potentially thousands of pounds. Most parents simply cannot afford such costs. Parents should be able to choose to send their children to a Catholic school if they would like their child to receive a Catholic education but these charges will remove that choice. We strongly urge local authorities not to penalise Catholic parents in

If parents have more than one child these cuts could lead to bills of thousands of pounds

For the latest Catholic education news, visit this way.” Under the current rules assistance with travel costs to denominational schools is enshrined under the 1944 Education Act. The 1996 Education Act placed a duty on local authorities to provide suitable travel arrangements to ensure a child’s attendance at school. This covers a distance of up to two miles for children below the age of eight and up to three miles for older children.

Numerous councils across the country are now phasing out subsidies. Essex County Council this month announced it will cut its £2.2 million subsidy, which will affect 1,800 pupils at 49 faith schools, among them 500 pupils from St Benedict’s Catholic College, in Colchester, who will have to pay for transport to schools from September.

Peter Johnson, acting principal of St Benedict’s, said several hundred pupils would now be paying £900 a year rather than £300.

He said: “It will have a significant impact on us. I have heard of schools that have had their numbers drop.”

Although pupils whose parents are on benefits will still receive subsidies, those just above the breadline could face enormous costs.

Mr Johnson said that dealing with the council had become “immensely frustrating”.

He said: “It’s unlikely they will be persuaded. They do not understand the nature of Catholic schools. All they say is that we’re subsidised.”

Brentwood diocese education director Mgr George Stokes said that the CESEW was taking the right approach in pressing the issue.

He said: “What can be done is what is being done. We should be pressing the

Continued on Page 2

Cardinal Pell praises Queen as she celebrates Diamond Jubilee BY DAVID V BARRETT

IN AN AGE of increasing but still minority secularism the Queen prompts us to remember our Judaeo-Christian roots, Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, said on Sunday.

In an address marked the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in St James’s church, Sydney, the cardinal said the Queen has “played her part well”.

“This year we celebrate her 60 years of achievement, ably supported by Prince Philip. She embodies many of the values we aspire to share. She knows the duties she has inherited, the tasks she must perform as a constitutional monarch, in our case through the Governor General, and I repeat she has done well,” Cardinal Pell said.

“Therefore as one of the guarantors of our governing authority, and its proper exercise and as a democratic symbol who is subject to God’s authority, we give Queen Elizabeth the honour and respect which is her due.” Australia’s Judeo-Christian roots, the cardinal said, “define Australian ‘common sense’, the insistence of ‘a fair go for everyone’ and our sympathy for the underdog”. He said the Queen was also a reminder that nearly two thirds of Australians are Christian.

“In Australia we practise a substantial separation of Church and state and acknowledging the majority identification as Christian implies no threat to the irreligious or indeed anti-religious, who have the same freedoms as we do to influence public opinion.”

Cardinal Pell recalled some of the “immense changes” of the Queen’s reign and said: “As she continues her years of service we pray that God will not fail or forsake her, that she will remain strong and courageous and that she will always act ‘in accordance with all that is written’ in the sacred Books.” Mary Kenny: Page 12

Priest: papal blessing cured possessed men


POPE BENEDICT XVI cured two men of demonic possession when he blessed them in St Peter’s Square, an exorcist has claimed.

Fr Gabriele Amorth said that when the Pope blessed the men they “flew three metres backwards” and “howled no longer”. In extracts from a new book, published by Panorama magazine in Italy, Fr Amorth said the incident occurred at a general audience.

According to AFP, Fr Amorth said that when the Pope appeared “the two possessed men fell to the floor and banged their heads on the ground”.

Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi denied that the Pope had performed an exorcism.

Bus is named after nun who saved Jews


MOTHER Riccarda Beauchamp Hamborough, the Brighton nun who saved more than 60 Jews from Nazi death camps, has received the unusual posthumous honour of having a bus named after her.

Mother Riccarda hid Jews as well as Polish Catholics and Communists in her Rome convent during the German occupation, where she was helped by her superior, Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hasselblad.

Pope Benedict XVI declared Mother Riccarda a Servant of God in 2010, and her Cause was opened that year.

Mother Riccarda was born in London in 1887 and was baptised at St Mary Magdalene church in Brighton. She moved to Rome aged 24 to become a nun.


Edward Leigh Your religious freedom is being threatened PAGE 12

Patrick Reyntiens Hockney’s art is a kick in the face PAGE 14

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